“Kidults,” defined by The NPD Group as consumers ages 12 years and older who buy toys or games for themselves, contribute to one-fourth of all toy sales annually at about $9 billion, per NPD data. This trend is consistent in Europe, as sales of toys for kidults are outpacing sales to children.
As part of the initial design process, we explored how SneakHeads® could appeal to both kids and kidults. Our initial focus is firmly set on the adult market, positioning our collectibles as limited edition art pieces, in a variety of materials that tell a story and feel both indulgent and purposeful. We want our community of collectors to express their personal style, and offer them new ways to celebrate other passions, for example sneaker collecting or customisation, and at the same time link those collections and themes to organisations around the world making a difference.
Kidult collectibles have strong appeal for a number of reasons. Many who grew up with toy collectibles have treasured memories of them, especially if those lines went on to have cult status. Toy collectibles can be seen as a status symbol, with collectors feeling a sense of community, connected by fandom. Additionally, toy collectibles can be an exciting way to invest in something that for the collector already has inherent appeal and may go on to have a high intrinsic value.
A number of brands have successfully reframed toy collectibles to reach a new market or demographic. Successful examples include Mattel’s Barbie, Lego and Miffy. These brands have widened and intensified their appeal to both younger and older collectors by incorporating elements that are both fun and stylish, new or nostalgia, and by powerfully platforming the products to communicate their brand purpose. Other powerful ways to reach a new or older audience include brand collaborations, limited edition releases, sophisticated designs and the use of premium materials.
Ultimately though, the big common denominator is one small word… joy. Whether that joy is sparked through rarity, rediscovered through nostalgia, or ignited by something new that just screams must-have. Joy doesn’t have a best before date, it just gets a little buried sometimes.
You can read an excerpt from the above as part of the article "From Barbie to the Teletubbies – why kidult culture is here to stay", published on 2 August 2023 in Marketing Beat: https://www.marketing-beat.co.uk/2023/08/02/kidult-culture-barbie/